Some local firefighters are getting a big fat plate of homemade cookies today, as a thank you for saving two fuzzy ducklings from an uncertain future inside a Pleasanton storm drain.
Pleasanton resident Shirley White was out with her husband and 5-year-old daughter photographing the solar eclipse Sunday afternoon. When they got back to their Corte Blanca home around 7 p.m., there was an adult duck quacking and wandering around their front yard, clearly distressed.
"She was just quacking, quacking, quacking and we couldn't get close to her," White said.
"And we heard what we thought were birds chirping and then we listened closer and we could hear the noises coming out of the storm drain."
A neighbor girl said she'd seen a mama duck earlier in the day, being tailed by four little baby ducklings. They were all gone.
White's husband ran and got gloves, and removed the drain cover. He was able to get one of the babies out, but the rest were further inside.
"My daughter kept saying, 'Are they going to be OK? Don't they need their mommy?'"
White's daughter kept throwing bread down the drain, in case the ducks were hungry — and so they would know they weren't alone.
Finally, White called the police just to see if they might help. They sent over an officer along with a fire truck from the 's Station No. 4.
"They have fires to fight and really important things to do, but they were so sweet about it," White said.
"One of the firefighters was bound and determined to get them out," White said.
Eventually, they were able to get a second baby duck out, but after about two hours, the other two ducks were just too far in.
When they realized the other two ducks were not reachable, one of the firefighters said he would ask the water department to flush out the system so the ducklings would be spit out into a nearby creek — alive and well.
By 9 p.m., they had wrapped up, and the mama duck seemed much calmer, hanging with her two babies in the bushes, White said.
"Here you've got these big firemen and they're all lying on the ground, trying to get these baby duckies.
"I thought it was really sweet."